In the United States, there is a prescription drug monitoring program that helps health care providers determine which patients are "doctor shopping" and which doctors they are seeing to do so. The prescription drug monitoring program also keeps track of which patients are getting what medications, at what dose, and so on so when they do go to see their doctor, he or she can have record of their past prescription use rather than go on the patient's word. This program is being utilized in 49 out of 50 states, with Missouri being the only state refusing to jump on the bandwagon.
Now, what we are seeing is a rising prescription drug problem in Missouri. In addition, people from all over the country are going to this state just to take advantage of the fact that prescribing professionals aren't using the program, which has helped reduce prescription drug abuse in the rest of the 49 states.
Hearing about what's going on in Missouri just baffles me. I am in full support of the prescription drug monitoring program, and am unsure why one state out of 50 is giving so much push back. According to reports, there are many people trying to get this put into motion, including Missouri medical associations and the White House. But, there is one group of lawmakers who is against the use of this program because they believe allowing the government to keep record of prescription drug abuse fails to comply with patient privacy -- and this is what is preventing it.
Not only am I concerned that Missouri isn't taking advantage of this program because it fuels more prescription drug abuse in the area, but I'm also concerned because it keeps prescription drug abuse going in all parts of the country. A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that 46 Americans die every day from a prescription drug overdose. That's over 16,000 people each year who are losing their lives to these drugs -- many (but certainly not all) are coming straight from a doctor's office.
It's important to understand that the prescription drug epidemic has many causes, not just over prescription from doctors. There are many doctors out there who are doing the right things when it comes to prescribing medications and providing education about them. However, there are more people now than ever before that are looking for new, underhanded ways to obtain these drugs, and without the proper prevention methods in place (like the prescription drug monitoring program), we are susceptible to seeing this problem continue.